Mr. Madonna’s Pork Project

Alex Madonna had some land, E-I, E-I-O. And on this land, he put some pigs, E-I, E-I-O. With an oink-oink here, and an oink-oink there. Here an oink. There an oink. Everywhere an oink-oink. Alex Madonna had some land, E-I, E-I-O…

The words have been changed slightly, but this is one song guaranteed to raise a big stink. The San Luis Obispo City Council recently refused to waive the E-I, E-I-R requirement for Madonna’s proposed Froom Ranch development on Los Osos Valley Road.

Pink in the face, frustrated enough to make his blood curdle, Alex Madonna may yet have the last poke at those he feels done him wrong. Rather than build retail stores, Madonna has publicly vowed to now use the prime land for…raising pigs. This is one pork project public officials can probably do without.

Neighborhood residents and passing traffic will soon be exposed regularly to the unsightly view (and stench) of hundreds of portly pigs, snorting and cavorting to their heart’s content.

In fact, phase one of Operation S.L.O.P. (San Luis Obispo Pigs) is about to begin. Thanks to an anonymous phone tip, I learned that the first wave of pigs has already arrived. They’re being kept in a holding area over in those abandoned storefronts at Madonna Plaza (a brilliant move you must admit—no one would ever think to look there!).

I swung by the other day to see for myself. Sure enough—dozens of pigs were lounging around in the abandoned stores, all waiting for the signal to move out, poised for Operation S.L.O.P to begin.

It was tough finding answers. There were three pigs lying together, but they declined to come out from under their blanket. Another pig was too busy to talk—he was on his way to the market. I had to settle for the pig in the corner—the one with the roast beef.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked.

“Hey—you think we like it?”  the pig grunted. “I’m being sent to live right across the street from a Denny’s. Right next to Margie’s Diner. Know what they serve in there? Get a whiff of those places. It’s enough to lose your appetite.”

“Folks are going to be mad about this,” I warned.

“Orders are orders,” the pig squealed, clearly sounding defensive.  “We’ve been promised extra feed if we make more noise. We also get larger portions for not bathing. There’s also a bonus for participating in the morning parade.”


“Sure. You bet. Those tourists from Bakersfield will eat it up. We march together in formation, finally spelling out the name of local activist Pat Veesart. That was Mr. Madonna’s idea.”

How diabolical. I asked the pig about the land, whether Operation S.L.O.P. was just a petty form of revenge. About whether or not this was just going to worsen the situation even more. The hungry pig seemed more interested in his roast beef. There was a second pig next to him—he had none.

“You had your chance,” the first pig finally muttered. “Mr. Madonna was going to build some nice, big stores and provide good jobs, but you stopped him. Everybody was yelling and screaming about preserving the land, keeping the rural nature of town. They had to hog everything for what they wanted. You made poor Mr. Madonna roll in the mud until the poor guy just gave up.

The pig swatted away a fly with his tail and burped. “Well, here we are. You want nature? We’ll give you nature. Right up the nose.”

San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune (1996)

Published by Dave Congalton

Writer. Radio Host. Screenwriter. Enjoying the Good Life on California's Central Coast.

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